REFLECTION FOR 1-24-2021
It was over 150 years ago that the first Mass was celebrated at the mission church that would become the parish of St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon. It was a time in the history of our country when we were trying to recover and move forward after the bloody and divisive Civil War. It seems very fitting that the patron saint chosen for the parish was St. Francis de Sales.
St. Francis de Sales was a well-educated, accomplished man from a wealthy family. But he was drawn to a life of simplicity, gentleness, and holiness. St. Francis eventually turned over his inheritance to his brother so that he could pursue his calling of service to God and God’s people. Through his preaching, writings, and role as a spiritual director, he helped many, many people to grow closer to God.
The situation in which we find ourselves today is not that much different than the one that existed when our parish patron was chosen. Our country is torn by divisions and there are those who have resorted to violence to try to resolve our differences. It seems that we need the teaching and example of St. Francis de Sales today just as the founders of our parish did all those years ago.
St. Francis de Sales believed that every person was called to live a life of holiness, and he left behind many words of wisdom to help each of us achieve that goal. Below are a few of his gems that seem to be especially pertinent to life today:
“If you would fall into any extreme; let it be on the side of gentleness.”
“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”
“Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever; even if your whole world seems upset.”
“Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.”
Let us honor our parish patron saint on his feast day by embracing his words of wisdom and striving to make them part of our daily lives.